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Massachusetts Wrongful Death Questions & Answers
Q: My daughters father took his own life, he was severely bipolar. His doctor was trying a new med knowing he was suicidal.

He would need to be hospitalized from time to time due to manic episodes. Normally, he was not suicidal & in fact, very happy. Episodes of depression would always follow, every time his doctor would put him on a new medication and this time he told his doctor that he was severely depressed and... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Oct 20, 2019

I'm very sorry for your loss. A Massachusetts attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for a week. Such a case could be difficult because today's mental health-related pharmaceuticals carry warnings that are a mile long. As a starting point, you could contact a med mal attorney in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: I am being asked to make deposition by former employer due to wrongful death suit, what are my rights?

I worked as assistant manager (manager on duty at time of incident) for school/residential program serving children with autism and developmental disabilities. During a shift many years ago all the children had the flu. One died. Now his family/estate are suing the school and requiring my... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 5, 2019

If you are a witness who has relevant information on a matter before a Court of the Commonwealth and properly served with a subpoena you do need to attend and you have the right to obtain counsel to represent you in the deposition as well. This is akin to jury duty in that participation is... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Is proving wrongful death occurred different than proving regular car accident negligence?
James A.  Swartz
James A. Swartz answered on Dec 18, 2018

The negligence (liability) component of the case would not change, i.e. was there a duty of care breached by the defendant? There are, however, different procedural and damages elements for a wrongful death case, as compare to a personal injury case. A lawyer can provide specific guidance,... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Are you required to have an autopsy performed to be successful in a wrongful death claim?
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Dec 14, 2018

No. It can likely help, but not required. Suggest you contact a member of the Mass Academy of Trial Lawyers--they give free consults

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2 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Can we file a claim even if the other person was not found directly at fault?
James A.  Swartz
James A. Swartz answered on Sep 26, 2018

I assume by "other person" you are referring to a potential defendant who allegedly caused or contributed to the death at issue. Wrongful death claims can be brought by the decedent's estate against any person or entity who caused, or substantially contributed to cause, the alleged wrongful death.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: If I'm in bankruptcy, what happens to any settlement from a wrongful death suit?
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 17, 2018

You need to report everything to your bankruptcy attorney ASAP and the other attorneys involved in the estate/ wrongful death matter ASAP as well.

2 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: If my mother gets a settlement for a suit we might file (father's death) - will she get the whole amount?
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 4, 2018

Did father have a Will? Was he intestate? Generally the Personal Rep. brings the action for the Estate. However, importantly You have not stated enough facts to determine whether his death was in the context of an accident, medical malpractice , or whether it related to his work and you should meet... Read more »

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4 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: If someone is killed by a drunk driver, does the state file charges or are we able to sue for wrongful death?
James A.  Swartz
James A. Swartz answered on Aug 17, 2018

In such a circumstance, criminal charges will likely be pursued by the State. However, individuals (or Estates of individuals) who have suffered harm my pursue a civil action against the drunk driver, or against an establishment that allegedly served alcohol to an intoxicated patron, contributing... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: How soon after the death can the survivors bring a wrongful death case?
Michael O. Smith
Michael O. Smith answered on Aug 3, 2018

In most circumstances, you have 3 years to file a wrongful Death lawsuit in Massachusetts. You usually need to have a representative to the decedents estate appointed by the probate and family court to proceed with a wrongful death action. I suggest you contact an experienced attorney in these... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Are punitive damages recoverable in wrongful death actions?
Camille Brooks Ibrahim
Camille Brooks Ibrahim answered on Jul 18, 2018

Due to Massachusetts Wrongful Death Act, M.G.L. c. 229, an exception to the common law, punitive damages are available if a person or corporation's gross negligence or willful or wanton conduct causes a death.

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1 Answer | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: What happens if one of multiple heirs to a wrongful death suit doesn't want the other heirs to sue?
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Apr 16, 2018

The heirs that believe a suit is appropriate should raise an estate. That person can chose not to receive money.

2 Answers | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: I filed a wrongful death suit resulting in the death of my brother. Do i have to share with my siblings
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 23, 2018

Did your brother have a spouse and/or dependent children?

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law, Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Is not reporting an a death from e coli at a nursing home illegal?

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Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jan 23, 2018

Depending upon how long ago the death occurred there may possibly be a nursing home malpractice/tort claim which you should investigate as soon as possible. This involves someone being appointed Personal Representative by the Probate Court to obtain medical records of the decedent for an evaluation... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Wrongful Death for Massachusetts on
Q: Is it possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against a medical practice if new evidence if found 8-9 years later?

A family member passed away 9 years ago and the cause of death was listed as accidental, but the toxicology report shows 2 prescribed drugs were in system of the deceased. After many years passed we have since learned that these 2 drugs are dangerous when prescribed together and they are... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Nov 15, 2017

I don't see a case here, let alone one that would survive a statute of limitations problem, but for the sake of closure why not consult a member of the Mass Academy of Trial Lawyers--they give free consultations.

Q: I called 911 for my husband who was having trouble breathing, passing out I called 911 and they transferred me 3 times

I explained to the operator that he had been diagnosed with/ viral cardiomyopathy 3 years prior and that I think he's having heart trouble again. They asked me if I needed the fire department or the squad? I told them that I needed the squad. The operator transfered me 3 times . My husband died.... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Mar 31, 2017

I would certainly suggest you contact a member of the Mass Academy of Trial Lawyers in your area. If you need the names of some, let me know.

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